Archives for June 2011

Independence Day Learning Fun!

We have never focused much on a 4th of July/Independence Day theme in school, but this year we are! Here is my collection of resources so far…

Independence Day Printables

4th of july printables{I whipped these up last night for my kiddos}.

Independence Day Lapbook from Homeschooling in Heels


Simple Schooling Why We Celebrate the 4th of July


4th of July from 2 Teaching Mommies


4th of July Sensory Bin


Independence Day Calendar Connections Cards


We might do a few fun crafts, but I am not so crafty, so we will see about that! I did pin a few I liked and thought I could manage on my Independence Day Pinterest Board!


Tot School ~ Letter Kk {part 2}

~Ladybug is currently 26 months old~

See Part 1 of Letter K here!  We took two weeks to complete this unit!


Tot School Printables K is for Key

Letter: Kk

Object: Keys

Vocabulary Development Theme: Household Objects

You can find the printables for this unit here on the Tot School Printables webpage.

We had loads of fun with Play Dough this week! She asked for it almost every day! This particular day we used a K cookie cutter and also some tiny keys I had for her! She loved squishing the keys into the dough.IMG_7057


She used her scissors to cut her play dough snakes…IMG_7069

We made the letter Kk…IMG_7079

Then used the key to make impressions into the dough, GREAT fine motor work and she loved this!IMG_7083

Pop Pop joined her for some coloring time, they colored her key cards together…IMG_7088

She then colored all of her shapes by herself…IMG_7093

The BIGGEST and most EXCITING event of the week—GLUE! The girl loves the glue. I taught her how to use white glue with a Qtip and a small cup and she mastered the process almost immediately.IMG_7100

She glued her shapes on as I cut them out and we named them together..IMG_7104

She didn’t want to stop there, so we glued her color cards onto a paper…IMG_7108

She still wasn’t done, so I cut up her numbers for her…IMG_7111

Finally, she finished up by gluing her cutting strip pieces down…IMG_7113

She did ask to glue on several other occasions, it is definitely a new favorite.IMG_7132

I finally decided on a spot to officially hang our pocket chart on the wall and she enjoyed using it for her vocabulary cards and her shadow matching cards…IMG_7164

The Crayola Dry Erase Center is still getting a great workout, as is the lap desk ;-)…IMG_7171

She loves coloring her vocabulary cards too…IMG_7175

Letter Kk printables here!

Fun Books & Toys for this unit here!

Tot School Printables Toys and Books Letter K

Tot Trays

Ladybug’s Tot Trays/Learning Toys have a new home!!! I finally decided on what I wanted and how I wanted it set up. I love the drawers for loose toys, but I also loved the trays for the display aspect, so I found a way to do both! You can see how I had things set up for her at the beginning of the week here. In the future I have grand plans of displaying items on the top also, but we didn’t have these shelves put together until the last minute so I was lucky to even have this! IMG_7131

Tweezing pom pomsIMG_7193

She LOVES this, as pom poms seem to be the easiest, while still requiring great concentration and fine motor skills. She did this tray many times.IMG_7195

Ping Pong balls and cups

IMG_7204This was a simple way to reinforce counting 1 to 1 {saying the number and touching the object}. She can count to 11 easily, but I had only 8 cups so we did 8 with this activity and practiced not counting too fast!

I also gave her a large parmesan cheese container so she could pour the balls back into it when she was done.IMG_7208

She got creative and decided to put 1 Hex Bug in each cup and then shut him in with a ball!IMG_7214




We were sent more toys from Guidecraft to review and are so very thankful! She was VERY challenged by this screw block at the beginning of the week and we spent a lot of time together as she just watched me model. I held her hands gently to show her a few days later and the next day she was ready to try on her own!IMG_7419

It was a really neat progression of skills over a few days and although she still can’t do it perfectly, it is just enough of a challenge for her! I LOVE this toy and can’t wait for Krash to see it to!IMG_7422

This is an OLD toy of mine from my teaching days that I found when I cleaned out the school storage room. I remember it used to have a puzzle base but that was missing. We used it anyway!IMG_7436

ABC puzzle {no clue where I got this one}…IMG_7153

Fishing for ABCs {she LOVES this, we got ours at consignment but it looks like this is the updated version}…IMG_7184

TONS of free drawing this week, this girl loves to draw and color!!!IMG_7122

Techy-Tot_thumb2_thumb_thumbI didn’t get any action shots of her with our iPad this week, but I thought I would still share the apps she played with most. These are the ones she chose on her own and really enjoyed. Some came from recommendations from readers on my Educational iPad Apps blog post last week – thank you!

Definitely her VERY favorite is Doodle Buddy, with Monkey Preschool Lunchbox getting almost as much play time! She also chose to play Monte-Lingual (1-10) and Wood Puzzle quite a bit also.

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The boys are out of town so she has been helping them out by feeding the turtle for them and she LOVES her new job. For those of you who are long time blog readers, this is the same turtle we made a labook about years ago!!!! We had 2 turtles and one died, but this one is “Beach” the tiny turtle pictured in the upper right corner of the lapbook cover-s/he is almost 4 years old now and huge!

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Montessori At Home! Giveaway!!

Montessori at Home 150x150

You must know by now that I love these books, Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain, and the eBook ~ Montessori at Home

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You may be wondering, “why 2 different books…what is the difference?” Honestly, I was too. Mr. Bowman sent me both formats and I have been able to pour over them both. Here’s my thoughts…

If you are on a computer or have an eReader that can read PDF books {like I do with iBooks on my iPad} I personally recommend getting the PDF version, Montessori at Home! It is more extensive and has more meat to it. The paper copy, Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain, was written for those parents who like a traditional book and want something to hold in their hands. It is filled with much of the same info and gives you everything you need, but is a bit more condensed.

What will you find in the books? Tons of scientific stuff, which I love! Tons of early childhood education stuff, which is my background and I love reading it even for the 100th time! Information about Maria Montessori and the background behind her methods. Lists of items to gather, simple ideas to make Montessori work for you at home.

Read more


ENTER TO WIN both the eBook and the paperback book!

{Giveaway ends 7/3/11}

4th of July Sensory Bin

4th of July sensory bin

In honor the upcoming holiday, I made the kids a 4th of July Sensory Bin


The kids won’t see it until the week of the 4th but I went ahead and made a few bins this week while the boys are still out of town! I actually got a few bins prepared and will share those soon too!

Target made it easy for me, as I got many of the extras there! I also dyed rice red and blue for the base underneath …IMG_7228

My favorite part is the fireworks straws {from Target}…IMG_7235

The sides of the bin have gel clings {which the kids adore}, and inside I put spiky balls, red/blue beads {Target}, and glittery pom poms {Target}…IMG_7238

A bit of info on where I got some of the stuff

  • Spikey Balls: mine were from Walmart awhile back, but I saw them online here.
  • Glittery Pom Poms, bead necklaces: Target-in the birthday section
  • Buckets: $1 section at Target
  • Fireworks Straws: Target-on an end cap with 4th of July stuff.
  • Gel Clings: I have NO clue-my mom got these for us awhile back and sent them up in a box-Michaels would be my guess?

I may add more red and blue stuff, but I wanted this to be simple. I have red, white and blue spoons, cups and bowls ready to put out with the tub also.

Here’s a few more 4th of July Sensory Bins I found online…

If you haven’t read the Montessori Minute post about sensory play, be sure to read that to see why these bins are so wonderful for kids!

Use this button to jump to all of my Sensory Bin posts anytime. Sensory-Bins622

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Independence Day on Pinterest.

Summer Challenge 2011

I don’t know about you but I can’t stand the phrase, “I’m Bored.” I also strongly dislike seeing laziness seem to ooze from the depths of my children. We are done with official school. I love to school year round-I just do it differently in the summer time. I need a break, they need a break, we all need a more relaxed routine-but we still need a routine!

Enter-the Summer Challenge.

I debuted the Summer Challenge in 2008 for PacMan and it has been redone this year to include Krash now that he is old enough. You can see the forms we used then here. You can even still use those, I just upgraded our version this year!

Here is what it looks like for us this year…


Their cards are laminated and hung on a 3M hook with a metal ring so they can easily flip through to see their choices.


Here is a screenshot of the actual prizes and point values we have in place this year.

Summer Challenge 11

We also may be adding in prizes, but all rewards will come in increments of 25 to make it easier on everyone!

How do they earn points? Here’s their cards, green is PacMan, blue is Krash…

Summer Challenge k Summer Challenge p

Currently they get 1 point per task, unless the task is marked separately {for example a really difficult worksheet might be marked with more points}.

Both boys will have a summer workbook filled with extra work…all their choice to do or not to do. Although I will be strongly encouraging a few specific things! I haven’t made these notebooks yet, they are on the to-do list this week!

You can easily recreate these by using the table tool in Publisher or PowerPoint, I made these in PowerPoint. If you want to write in your stuff and use my forms, I am providing blank copies you can download here! I also included 2 recording pages with girls on them!